entance to art exhbit A Fresh Look featuring a winter scene of Grandfather Mountain painted in oil by artist Timmy Hord.

Winners for A Fresh Look 2023
Art Competition & Exhibit

On view through July 29

Awards were presented Saturday June 24th at Southern Arts Society for their latest competition A Fresh Look. The exhibit will be on view through July 29. Much of the artwork is available for sale. Artists from around the region submitted over eighty works of art to be judged for cash prizes. Artists were asked to show their most recent work, taking a fresh look at the world around them.

The theme for this show is very open, allowing for a wide variety of subject matter to be entered.

Judging the show was Jane Allen Nodine, Distinguished Professor Emerita and retired Gallery Director at the University of South Carolina Upstate, where she served as head of the art program for over twenty years. Miss. Nodine selected First, Second, Third place prizes along with three merit awards.

Artists participating in the exhibit are: Susan Arrowood, Mary Bartrop, Todd Baxter, Janice Booth, Arlene Calvert, Carl Childs, Barbara O’Neal Davis, Ellen Devenny, Janet Dyer, Faith Gaillot, Dianne W. Garner, Timmy Hord, Mimi Irwin, C.M. Kakassy, Robert E. Klar, Emma Kay Lewis, Rosie Little, Janet Littlejohn, Lori McAdams, Bertie McClain, Kathleen McDermott, Jill Meeks, Martha Moore, Tom Pacheco, Katrin Paschakarnis Breitkreutz, Linda Pellerin, Alex Pietersen, Patricia Pietersen, Cass Roberts, Robert Silver, Austin Walker, Jenna Webb, and Joe Zdenek

Miss Nodine made the following comments about the show overall:

“It is an honor for me to be invited to judge the 2023 Southern Arts Society competition, A Fresh Look. I was pleased to see a variety of styles, media, and subject matter represented, and I congratulate you all for taking the risk to make your work public.
In this exhibition I selected works that met several criteria; technical skill – using established principles of design and composition as well as mechanical mastery, conceptual works – works that prod and challenge the viewer with ideas and images that veer from conditioned responses of beauty and aesthetics, vernacular works – works that may seem awkward and out of character to most established principles of design but in some manner poke at our sense of time, space, and reality.
While subject matter and composition are crucial to work, I encourage artists to pay close attention to mechanical skills such as paint application or physical construction. Look at master works and original works by established artists. Practice mixing colors, vary brush strokes and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. This is where we learn our most important lessons. Pay close attention to mounting and framing works. Frames should work with the art and not overpower with heavy patterns or thick dimensions. Choose subject matter wisely and let your art voice reflect your vision. Seek out the unusual and avoid sentimental or overused subjects. Think of your art-making much like a creative writer. You want to pull the viewer into the work and give them a taste, whether bitter or sweet, offer a taste they can feel and see.

Thank you for inviting me to judge your work.”

– Jane Allen Nodine

The following prizes were awarded at the reception with many of the artists in attendance. Judge Jane Allen Nodine provided the following comments for each of the awards she selected:


First Place – $250

Todd Baxter's color pencil drawing of a white haired man lighting a pipe as smoke whisps against a background of antique metal gas station signage.

Pipe Dreams by Todd Baxter – colored pencil

The artist’s proficiency with drawing in colored pencil is immediate and beautifully executed but, the subject matter, composition, and stop action moment of the pipe smoke goes above the ordinary. Selecting an aged figure with lines and wrinkles of time and experience pulls the viewer into an atmosphere of remembrance and the past.


Second Place – $150

Artist Robert Silver next to hos winning stained glass kaleidoscope viewer.

Red Kaleidoscope by Robert Silver – glass, wire, mirror

Craftsmanship and mechanical skills are the result of time, patience, and experience. This is evident in the works by Robert Silver. But craft cannot stand alone when design, the arrangement of materials and forms is not present. The texture and patterns in this work pull the viewer in to explore the object, that is also functional as a novelty, a kaleidoscope.


Third Place – $75

Artist next to her color pencil drawing of a manin a winter coat sitting in a near-empty coddeeshop, with his cup and fedora hat in the foreground.

P.I. Starbucks by Lori McAdams – colored pencil, ink, watercolor

At first view of this work, I immediately envisioned the work of Edward Hopper. There is an austerity to the image that seems to place it in another time-period other than that of a 21st Century Starbucks. The only giveaway being the coffee cup with the proverbial plastic sippy top. I enjoyed the use of forced perspective in the composition that elongated the table and fedora, both curving and leading the eye back toward a figure engrossed in reading, both separate and isolated from the figure at the table.



Merit Award – $50

Photographer Ellen Devenney with her black and white photo of 2 birds embracing.

Embrace by Ellen Devenny – photography

Photography is so much a part of our contemporary lives that we think little or nothing about the technical aspects to capture a moment in time. In black and white photography, utilizing a full scale of tones from blackest black to white does not just happen by clicking a button. Before composing, attention must be paid to lighting, aperture, speed, etc., and in this case to watch and wait in the wild for that perfect moment. Technical proficiency and patience are necessary, and this work includes a magical moment when the birds embrace before parting.


Merit Award – $50

Primsmatic-looking photograph looking up into a tree with green and orange leaves.

Tree with Three Crows by Janice Booth – photography on canvas

At first look this work appeared to be a painting of loose strokes, but with further observation I realized it was a photograph printed on canvas. I was drawn to this piece by the movement and vibration, and the fact that as a photograph, it was more abstract than realistic. The bold trunk and branches of the tree move solidly through the composition of shifting golds and greens against the blue sky. This could be mistaken for a reflection on water, rippling and shifting in a light breeze.


Merit Award – $50

Artist Barbara ONeal Davis with her watercolor of an african american woman with hoop earrings rendered in purple and magenta.

Peaches: Pensive by Barbara O’Neal Davis – watercolor

In many of the figurative works the subject looks within their space, caught in the activity of the moment. In this work the figure looks out directly at the viewer. Her expression is relaxed but engaging. I like how the artist forced the image into the picture plane, overfilling it and cutting away the top of her head and sides of her flowing hair. The artist has used watercolor, an unforgiving medium, to render the various tones in the face, and the blues, greys and magenta of the hair works well with the warm browns and oranges of the skin. Strength comes to mind as I observe this portrait.